I want to start today’s post off with a story that happened last week. On Wednesday, I was coming back from dollar tree and volunteering. I parked my car in the lot it’s supposed to be in. As I was walking to the bus stop, I happened to look down and see the magnetic stripe of some kind of card. I wasn’t sure if it was a credit, debit, or gift card, and to make things a little bit more confusing, it was not signed. I stopped, picked it up, and turned it over. It was a debit card. I debated whether I should put it in the car’s windshield or take it with me. One thing was for certain though, I wasn’t going to just leave it on the ground. I was scared that it might get stolen if on the windshield, and I wasn’t even sure that was the car it came from. So I pocketed it and took it with me. As I was waiting for the bus, I got on my phone and typed I the name on the debit card to send her an email. Well, nothing showed up, so I had to wait until I got back to my room. So I get back, and immediately get on my laptop. I type her name in again, and this time her email comes up. I didn’t want to freak her out, so I just made the subject “Hello”. I basically said something along the lines of “you don’t know me, but I found your debit card. I would love to return it to you.” She emailed me back pretty quickly (she didn’t even realize it was missing), and we agreed to meet up that night. We had kind of a blind date moment as neither of us were really sure that it was the correct person. Well, I returned the card, she thanked me, and we went our separate ways.
I didn’t tell that story because I want praise of what I did. I told that story because as I was telling my sister what happened, she said that not a lot of people would do that. The sad thing is, she’s right. I’m so glad I saw her card and picked it up. A lot of other people would be like “debit card? Suh-weet! Let’s spend this!” But when I saw it, my heart dropped. I understand what it would feel like to be looking for something like that and not being able to find it. I picked up the card and returned it because it was the right thing to do.
Now, a lot of people this week are in finals week, including myself. While my finals are easy, I still need to study. There are a couple classes that I really need to do well on these finals. And so, if that means studying over watching Netflix, then that’s what it means, because studying is the right thing to do.
Doing the right thing means doing whatever it is without expecting anything in return. Just like with the debit card, I didn’t ask for anything. I could hear the relief in her voice, and that was enough. Doing something, even if it is the “right thing”, and expecting praise or reward in return is not the right thing. Another example I can give of this is work last night. It was just the other student and myself for the majority of my shift. Although he is older than me, I definitely worked harder. I was ready to go to get what we needed to done. He chose to take his time. Consequently, I did a lot more work than he did. But I’m not going to text my boss saying “hey he didn’t pull his weight last night.” Why would I? We got what we needed to done.
Doing what is needed but complaining about not being recognized or even wanting a reward is not the right thing. I got a few of my friends some small Christmas presents even though I knew they weren’t expecting it nor had they prepared one in return. I have friends who would do that or use that as an excuse to be like, “well now you need to get me something.” Or they’d be like “wow look what I did! I’m amazing!” That’s why I hardly post on social media anymore. I don’t need recognition. I don’t need people to know everything I do. I finished a massive paper on Saturday night, even tho it probably could’ve waited until Sunday. But it was due Sunday and I had time so why not?
I’m not saying all this to put myself on a pedestal or gain recognition. I’m just saying that the old adage, “the right thing is its own reward” is pretty true. This past summer (obviously), I had an unpaid internship. I didn’t have to log as many hours as I did, but I was willing to help and I learned so much. There were definitely times I was put in a position I may not have been comfortable with, but complaining to my boss would not have done any good. So I put a smile on my face and did what was asked of me.
So I challenge you, as we are drawing 2017 to a close, can you do the right thing? Can you do something to benefit someone else without getting a reward? I always encourage feedback, but I would love to hear your stories, not that you need recognition.